Monday, April 27, 2009

Between Two Worlds

In my post way back on March 9 (ancient history in the blogosphere), I commented on the need for the church to be involved with "new media" if we hope to reach/teach/evangelize the rising generation.

As I thought more about it, I considered my own place in the discussion.

Here at ACWI, we find ourselves with one corporate foot in the world of "old media" and one foot in the "new media" world . What do I mean?

Well, just consider where and how we communicate our message:

  • OLD: Christian radio and print publishing
  • NEW: podcasting and blogging (and one of these days when I have more time on my hands, Facebook)

Way back in 1997 (this was before there were specialized career titles like "network security analyst" or "information technologist"), a friend who was known simply as a "computer guy" was forecasting the end of the book - that we'd all be reading e-books on our computers before long and the libraries would all close up shop.

I don't ever see a day when it has to be one or the other. It will depend largely on who your intended audience is. If we were to plan a conference for youth pastors or their youth groups this year, you can be sure that we'd focus our energies on new media. But if we wanted to reach the general population, we'd probably use a mix of both old and new media.

Consider these words from Phil Cooke. In The ‘Open Media’ Revolution, he writes,

"The ‘Open Media’ Revolution will change everything you know about reaching this generation. If church and ministry leaders don't understand and respond to this change, our impact will eventually disappear. Think that's being a little melodramatic? Let me explain it by showing the difference between the closed media world of the past and the open media world of the future. . ."

Cooke then goes on and gives these as his first couple of examples:

Closed: TV was the hub of marketing and advertising campaigns
Open: TV is now TIVO-we skip commercials
Closed: Programmers controlled the message
Open: The audience influences the message

Cooke — along with my old friend the "computer guy" — seems to think that "old media" is taking its last gasping breaths.

I'm not quite there yet - if for no other reason than the fact that curling up in a big comfy chair with a book and a cup of coffee (or for some people, tea) just isn't the same if you've got a laptop (or a Kindle) in place of the trusty old book.

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